Queen Elizabeth II dies: Edinburgh praised after historic events marking monarch's death

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A major operation to get Edinburgh moving again swung into action as the Queen’s coffin left Edinburgh Airport for London last night.

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A total of 33,000 people filed past her coffin to pay their final respects as it lay at rest in St Giles Cathedral from Monday evening until yesterday afternoon.

The Queen, who died last Thursday at her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire and was brought to Edinburgh by cortege on Sunday, will now lie in state at Westminster Hall in London where people will also be able to pay their last respects.

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In Edinburgh, workers were busy overnight starting to remove temporary traffic management infrastructure and clean up the city centre after the crowds.

Key routes are being reopened as quickly as possible to minimise disruption to residents and visitors.

Princes Street, Lothian Road and the Bridges reopened last night but the council said the Royal Mile would remain closed, with George IV Bridge and The Mound expected to reopen today.

Hundreds of thousands of people descended on the city over the past few days to pay their respects and millions more across the world tuned into the broadcast coverage. Crowds lined the streets for the arrival of the coffin on Sunday, the King’s arrival on Monday and then the procession up the Royal Mile, which was followed by a thanksgiving service in St Giles and the lying-at-rest.

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The hearse with the Queen's coffin leaves St Giles Cathedral.The hearse with the Queen's coffin leaves St Giles Cathedral.
The hearse with the Queen's coffin leaves St Giles Cathedral.

Lord Provost Robert Aldridge, who is also Lord Lieutenant – the sovereign’s representative in Edinburgh – said: “The last four days have marked a significant, historic occasion globally, and it is with immense pride that we look back on Edinburgh’s contribution. It’s thanks to the monumental efforts of all those involved that we, along with the public, were able to say a heartfelt farewell to Her Majesty, whose strong connection to the Capital and Scotland was widely known.

“This has been the result of a very detailed and successful planning operation that has been delivered flawlessly by a community of partners and is a shining example of the power of coming together in difficult circumstances. I know many will remember this for a lifetime, and we’re honoured to have played such an important role in this moment.”

And council leader Cammy Day thanked everyone in Edinburgh for their “patience, support and positivity” over “an incredibly challenging and hugely rewarding few days for us all”.

He said: “The eyes of the world were upon us and our capital city looked her beautiful best throughout. This is due in no small part to the incredible efforts of an army of volunteers, partners and council workers, who have gone far above and beyond to deliver an incredibly complex series of ceremonial events almost overnight – and all while keeping the city running. They are now doing everything they can to focus on busy areas and get everything back to normal.

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“The collective farewell that Edinburgh has given to Her Majesty has been an impeccable and fitting representation of our city as its very best. We should all feel incredibly proud of our communities today.”

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